A former USGA Assistant Ticketing Director faces 15 counts of fraud in a scheme that started with the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club and went through the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Prosecutors say Robert Fryer stole more than 23,000 tickets, then allegedly sold the tickets to third-party brokers for resale on the secondary market. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 300 years in prison and a $3.75 million fine, and if convicted, Fryer would be obligated to repay the USGA and forfeit the proceeds from the alleged scheme.
Robert Fryer of Perkasie, Pa., a former Assistant Ticketing Director for the United States Golf Association (USGA), faces one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, four counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud in an alleged embezzlement scheme, Yahoo! Sports reported. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging him for an alleged scheme to steal more than $3 million worth of U.S. Open tickets for resale on the secondary market.
According to prosecutors, Fryer conducted the scheme starting with the 2013 U.S. Open at Pennsylvania’s Merion Golf Club and kept it going through the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, Yahoo! Sports reported.
“Criminals that conduct ticket schemes like this prey on the excitement surrounding big events; fans should remember that any item with a low price that seems ‘too good to be true’ should be cause for caution and concern,” Williams said, per the DOJ statement.
Prosecutors say Fryer stole more than 23,000 tickets valued at more than $3 million over the course of the seven-year scheme, Yahoo! Sports reported. He then allegedly sold the tickets to third-party brokers for resale on the secondary market while collecting payments that put more than $1 million into his pockets. He did so without the USGA’s knowledge, according to the DOJ.
The DOJ declined to identify the brokers that allegedly worked with Fryer, Yahoo! Sports reported. Per the DOJ, the third-party vendors were able to collect thousands of stolen tickets for each U.S. Open, skirting the USGA’s policy of capping sales to any one person or business to 20 tickets. Fryer allegedly delivered the tickets via FedEx, UPS and sometimes even in person to the ticket brokers or their customers.
The USGA announced in a statement that it learned of the scheme when federal prosecutors reached out months ago and that it implemented a new ticketing system starting in 2020, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“The USGA was both appreciative and fully supportive of the efforts of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office [for] the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in this investigation,” spokesperson Beth Major said, per the statement.
Per the DOJ, the charges in total carry a maximum sentence of 300 years in prison and a $3,750,000 fine, Yahoo! Sports reported. If convicted, Fryer would be obligated to repay the USGA and forfeit the proceeds from the alleged scheme.